From Bad to Worse

Don't fight sin with more sin.

Genesis 31:14-21 (ESV)

Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father's house? Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”

So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father's household gods. And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

While Jacob has some legitimate gripes against Laban, stealing away with both his daughters and all the grandchildren is way, way over the top. Imagine if your son-in-law did that to you.

This whole thing is just sin soup. Laban is treating everyone badly, even his own descendants. What’s up with that?

Then Jacob masterminds the rudest goodbye imaginable. What’s up with that?

Then Rachel tops everyone with her spoiled-brat theft of her dad’s household gods.

Oh, good grief. Laban would have given her more valuable presents as a send-off gift.

Actually, Rachel’s stunt spawns the next lesson God has in store for Jacob. While it will be painful when Laban discovers that his daughters and grandchildren are gone – and he might have gone after them anyway just to say a proper goodbye – the theft of his household gods is just cause for rounding up a posse and chasing them down.

Jacob’s head start might have been enough under normal circumstances – he’s obviously assuming that – but not now. He will not make a clean escape and will have to face Laban.

Yet again, events conspire to force Jacob to grow.


The cruel truth is that many people wreck their family relationships. We’re often just as knuckleheaded as Laban, Jacob and Rachel. Even if we haven’t personally ruined relationships, we know people who have.

Today, let’s pray for them. If it’s someone you know, pray that God will bless them and heal the hurt. Also pray that the Holy Spirit open their eyes and convict them of their own contribution to the problem.

If it’s you, the prayer’s the same.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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